How much do you know about Missions?
How much do you know about missions? Are you a missions hero or a missions zero? And what about your church? Is it a missions hub or a missions flub?
Regardless of where you may place yourself or your church on the missions knowledge continuum, there is always room for improvement. And missions education is the way to improve your missions knowledge.
Missions Education falls into three categories.
Now, for those who would say that their missions education is adequate or effective, I would offer the following suggestions for what must characterize effective missions education.
Missions education may utilize the following formats;
We have some free resources available for use by yourself, your small group or you church to help further missions knowledge through missions education. Check it out here
We would also be happy for the opportunity to speak to your church or a missions group, a small group, youth group or a Sunday School class. Contact the office and we will arrange the date.
God’s heart truly is for the nations and it is our great privilege to join him in this pursuit resulting in his great glory and our everlasting joy.
“Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You!” Ps. 67:4-5
Well, OMS Canada’s 75th anniversary event, the unFinished Conference, took place two weeks ago.
This blog post is a review of the event with some thoughts about our future.
Fair Havens Ministries was the location for the conference. For many years OMS Canada Retreats were held at Fair Havens, so it seemed an appropriate venue to hold the anniversary event. And we were not disappointed. The staff did an exceptional job of caring for us. The meeting spaces were excellent. The accommodations were comfortable and the food was fantastic. Special thanks to Tara for her patience with us; we had never planned an event like this.
The opening session on Friday evening had us in Irwin Chapel. Esther Cooke and Ruth Williston were our excellent worship leaders for the weekend and they did a super job of it. The theme for the conference was the unFinished Task that Jesus gave to the church. This was reflected in our worship by the theme song, “Facing a Task Unfinished”. The lyrics reminded us of God’s blessing and His intention for that blessing to be a blessing to others as well.
Dr Stan Dyer then led us in a rehearsal of OMS’ history, beginning with our founders, the Cowman’s, and the beginnings in Canada with Bill and Blanche Frith. It was abundantly clear that God had been gracious to OMS Canada and faithful in all His ways. There is a legacy to godly leadership and fruitful service for the Kingdom of God. This was celebrated.
In the second main session on Saturday morning, Dr Bob Fetherlin, President of OMS Global, reminded us of the task that remains unfinished, using Genesis 12:1-3 (all the peoples will be blessed) and Acts 1:8 (you will be my witnesses). As people who have been rescued, we are to help rescue others. He has given to us the ministry of reconciliation and we are blessed to be a blessing. Our task is to create new links in the gospel chain to reach those who have never heard. And our ministry is to be ‘Glocal’, ministry that is both local and global.
In the third main session on Saturday evening, Dr Randall Mah of Wycliffe Bible Translators gave us a snapshot of how the gospel is doing in the world today. He reminded us that when the nations are referenced in Scripture it does not mean a geo-political country as we often assume. Rather, it refers to people groups, ethno linguistic groupings of people, connected by culture and language. He told us that there remain approximately 3,000 people groups with less than 2% evangelical Christians. These are the Unreached People Groups (UPG). And until each of these people groups have been penetrated by the gospel and a community of worshippers established, the task remains unFinished.
There were a number of breakout sessions that also took place on Saturday. Three missionary families shared on the theme “A Day in the Life” of a missionary. These were well attended and we were challenged by their experiences. There were also sessions on Short Term Missions, Dynamic Women in Mission, Unreached People Groups, Business as Mission, Billion.Global, and Kairos. We trust that these sessions challenged each one to become more involved in completing the great commission.
In the final session, we were challenged to embrace the 20/20 Vision. By God’s grace, we will believe for 20 new missionaries by the end of 2020. It is a vision that is disproportionate to who we are at OMS Canada but not at all disproportionate to who God is. To support this vision, the OMS Canada Board of Directors have enacted four strategic initiatives. These strategic initiatives have been designed to increase our exposure to those individuals to whom the Lord of the Harvest is speaking about service among the nations.
The first initiative is to hire a full-time Recruiter. If we are serious about doing our share to complete the task, it will involve many more missionaries. And if we are serious about new missionaries, then we believe that a full-time recruiter is necessary. And God has provided extra funds from a generous donor who passed away last year.
The second initiative is to encourage all of you to investigate the opportunity to take the Kairos Course ( https://simplymobilizing.com/courses/kairos/ ). This course will make it very clear what the task is and what is our responsibility. It will also provide us proximity to those people in Canada who are serious about learning of missions and more apt to consider serving among the nations.
The third initiative is the Missions Kickstart program. One of the challenges faced by post-secondary students is student debt. The Missions Kickstart program is an opportunity for OMS Canada to assist graduates pay back their student loans on the condition that they have been approved for missionary service with OMS Canada and will commit to a term of service. Our aim is to be able to move these people to their field of service in a more timely manner by removing the burden of student loans.
The fourth initiative is the 341 Prayer Groups. Prayer triplets are not a new concept to the church. They have been used to fruitful ends around the world. We are asking you to meet with two other people at least once a week to pray for one more new missionary by the end of 2020. That’s 3 people praying 4 1 more new missionary by the end of 2020. When you do form your group, we ask you to let us know about it so that we can pray for you and keep you up to date on how God is answering prayer.
Share your group details here - https://forms.gle/oY17iJ8Snqp9iX5x8
The only instruction given in regards to getting new missionaries is to pray. One of the passages where we see this is Matthew 9:38. Jesus has looked out on the crowds of people with compassion because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus said to pray earnestly, therefore, to the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers into the harvest. This is what we are committing to do and this is what we are asking you to commit to do as well.
So we challenge you to join us in our commitment to see the task Finished and hasten the day of
To find out more about any of this, don’t hesitate to call or shoot us an email.
When we hear the word impossible we think of something that is not able to be done and that can easily allow a person to be filled with: fear, uncertainty, worry, and helplessness.
Now, when we hear the word possible we feel a lot better because it tells us that something can be done. That gives us confidence, hope, peace, and assurance.
Today I’m happy to say that, with God ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE.
“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God;
all things are possible with God.”
When we face situations in our lives that seem impossible, it ultimately gives us the choice to either focus on those things and keep struggling or to surrender everything to God and trust in Him.
There are several different things we can do to remain encouraged when trusting in God for the impossible. Here are 4 for us to look at:
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it,
and it will be yours.”
Prayer is the key to every victory that we experience in life. We need to constantly be in communication with God no matter what we are going through. We can have the assurance that God will answer us according to His perfect will for our lives.
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible
We need to have faith, to believe. This allows us to keep moving forward and to step into the great things God has for us. When things seem impossible, we need to remember that with God all things are possible. This verse demonstrates the power of faith, and it just takes a tiny bit of it.
What are you believing God for today?
“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
We all fall short every day and we need to remember that. We need to check ourselves daily and ask for God’s forgiveness and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We cannot successfully do the things that God has called us to without the realization that we need God, we cannot do it on our own.
We need to remember this when we are trusting God for the impossible.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.”
Surrendering is not an easy thing to do, but it is necessary as we grow in Christ. We all have hopes, dreams, and visions. Let’s surrender these to God and allow Him to guide us so that He may have all the glory. This is what growing in Christ is all about, we are just vessels and our King of glory is worthy of all honor and praise.
Let’s be encouraged today, whatever impossible situation you are facing. There is hope and it is found only in Jesus Christ our Lord.
To Him be all glory.
Oh sure, I support missions. I send in a cheque every month, or I have a recurring donation come out of my account every month. What more is there? Have a look at this list and be challenged to do more.
Your missionaries need so much more than just your financial support.
From the Ayars' blog...
The Ayars Affairs -- Life in Haiti
safe (and other miracles)
Posted: 30 Sep 2019 07:50 PM PDT
I am hearing that you are feeling nervous about us, and I know that that really means that what I'm hearing is that you love us. I'm so very thankful for that love, and I know it all comes with PRAYER.
We need BOTH. Thank you.
So let me just say...We are safe in His hands in His time and His place and His way.
We feel safe because we're in His hands, and because He has us in the good hands of His people here.
Part of why we have always felt so safe in Haiti is because we have so many good relationships, and Haiti is so community oriented...we are well cared for.
We have fantastic friends and family from all around the North, whom we trust and who understand the country and the current situation, which differs in literally every village, better than we do. When someone says, "Stay home today," we stay home. When someone says to leave earlier, we leave earlier.
Matt met with the administration for thirty minutes before leaving for South Korea and was free and at peace to go because everyone agreed that things were safe at Emmaus, that the kids and I would stay homebound, that they would look out for us, and that they'd cover anything that came up. People are checking on us continually, from the security guards to community friends to the students, and I know I could ask anyone for anything at anytime, and often do. The kids and I good (if not a little wild-eyed :) when Matt is gone because GOD IS NOT.
Matt has coke with the men burning our road, whom he knows by name. Emmaus has hired almost all our support staff from this community. Matt teaches Bible study with 25 men from the community down the road where trouble is more prevalent. Kiddos from the community all spend time at our house and we know and love their parents. We walk to church (especially recently with no fuel) with our community. We are a part of this community, and this community takes care of one another, and that blesses us continually and makes things that might seem/look scary to you not feel/look scary to us, or to our children.
The large majority of the major demonstrations and violence are in Port-au-Prince, which is seven hours from here. Pray for the body of Christ in Port-au-Prince...our heart breaks. Smaller demonstrations and rioting are in the city, and the kids and I haven't been to Cap-Haitian (due to these issues) in over a month now. Our road continues to be blocked almost every day, but staff, students, and residents come and go each day with NO problems (as long as they pay...10, 50, 100 gdes), 11 cents, 55 cents, a dollar.
We ask our trusted friends, we listen to our trusted friends, we encourage each other, our staff and our students to ask and listen to each other, and we continue to always follow this plan: "If it is safe to come, do. If the road is open, take it. If it is not, don't. If there are students, we will have class. If there are not, we won't. If it is not safe, stay home. If you can safely make it to the market, please go, and thank you, and if you can't, DO NOT."
Honestly, 99% of the country is living on this principle right now.
While there seems to be fuel again in Port, our gas stations have been empty for over four weeks now...hard to find for almost 2 months. Last Saturday, nine fuel trucks came to the North...no where NEAR enough, especially since no one had had fuel for weeks. There was complete CHAOS for 24 hours in which few people got a little diesel, and there has been nothing since.
While many people are very frustrated with the government/president continuing to be utterly SILENT, the majority of people would be very happy to let the man finish his elected term and to get back to life...yet physically, literally CANNOT because we have NO FUEL. Schools cannot open, people cannot return to work, hospitals cannot function, food cannot be purchased. Life is BLOCKED.
Because the president is not talking, the loud violent voices of the opposition (and bored thugs looking to make 10, 50, 100 gdes) are all anyone is hearing, and therefore believing, and therefore living in fear of.
I do NOT want to or mean to ever minimalize what is happening. While Haiti has been here before, Matt and I have never seen it like this and one day, when it is all over, we will realize how challenging this season was, and how we have been changed by it.
I listen to a certain amount of "news" and talk every day, we make the wisest decisions we can, and then I have to stop. The brokenness, poverty and injustice in Haiti (and the world) has threatened for twenty years to break my heart to the point of complete paralysis. I can only see, experience, hear, know and think about SO much each day and then I have to STOP, and beg the Lord to intervene, and THROUGH ME if He will, and then I have to GIVE it to Him and TRUST and let go and let Him.
That's been true always, and especially now.
I'm not living on coping mechanisms, denial, on hope for fuel or political change, or the chocolate Shelley sent me. I'm living on faith, and that means focusing deliberately on HIM and that which we cannot see...NOT focusing on the things that are tearing the country, and her precious people, apart.
I believe God has Matt and I and our family here in Haiti, right now, alongside her people, for His glory. I believe He has us here to help, to encourage, to teach, to serve, to be in relationship, to live life alongside, to HOPE, to preach the Words He has already spoken for His precious people.
I believe that God has CALLED us to that kind of life-pouring-ministry...and that that calling doesn't change when things are on fire. If anything, it is now, in all this awful suffering, that Christ, the hope of glory, is most badly needed, and I truly (I know this sounds crazy), I truly consider it a privilege to be struggling (we would never call our experience suffering, comparatively) alongside His people here, now.
Our students leave their homes and are concerned about the roads, they are concerned about their families, they are concerned about their futures, they are concerned about their country, they are concerned about the futures of their children, and it is all burning and all broken and all dark and hopeless.
And then they come in and are well-loved.
They do not worry, for once, finally, about what they will eat, or when. We have students who do not eat when they are at home, not all weekend, knowing that they will have food at Emmaus on Monday, so that there is enough for their family members.
They do not worry about being safe from harm in their dorms. They do not worry about being abused or attacked or mistreated. They do not worry about being lied to or stolen from or misled. They do not worry about corruption or bribes. Our staff do not worry about not being paid for months and not being able to care for their families. Our staff do not worry about being set up or deceived or stolen from or abused.
Emmaus isn't perfect. Matt had to let two beloved staff members go last week, and we had one of the most personally brutal expulsions of a student I deeply love two weeks ago.
But our board and staff and supporters and team have thrown all our hearts into loving the people God has called us to serve WELL, caring for them well, establishing a thriving and holiness-Biblically based community that is focused on His love, His call, His plan, His outreach, His Word, His WAY for our staff and students...communities and country. Not Haiti's way. Not North America's way. Not the world's way.
As we love each other well, His way...our students are loving others well, His way, too.
This IS changing the hearts and lives of Haitian people--let the streets burn if they must--and it is a gift to stand with them for the altogether different Gospel today.
Stand with us. Stand with us.
Love one another well. His way. Help us. Support us. Pray for us. Focus not on the headlines for and about WHATEVER country that concerns you today, but on His face.
It makes walking on water possible.
And we need miracles like that, today.